31 January 2012

Police Station Field Trip

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We were greeted by McGruff the Crime Dog and Officer Tom.

 

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The kids learned all about being a motorcycle policeman.

 

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Showing the kids how handcuffs works.

 

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They even got to ride on the motorcycle!

 

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Officer Reynolds and Little Deputy Grace.

 

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McGruff was a trooper because it was HOT in that sun today!

 

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Officer Tom explains the ins and outs of a police car.

 

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The back seats are made of hard plastic.  Not comfortable at all! 

 

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Hopefully, the one and only time my kids are in the back of a police car! (smile)

 

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The de-briefing room.

 

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The kids asked some great questions and learned a lot today at our local police station.  The officers and staff were so good to us.  A fun time was had by all!

27 January 2012

The Plank in My Eye

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For the last couple of months, I’ve had this annoying brown speck on the outer white part of my left eye.  I meant to get it checked out but then the holidays arrived and life got a little busy.  I noticed it most when I spent time running in the mornings.  In the shade, it was hardly noticeable but every time I faced the sunlight, the brown speck was there on my left side- kind of floating around and distracting my view.  After a self examination, I determined that my eye got scratched somehow and eventually, it would heal.  Thankfully, its gotten better over time. 

While running,  God would often bring Matthew 7:3 to mind.  I wondered more than once, “Is God trying to tell me something?  Am I judging, criticizing, or condemning someone in my life without being able to see my own sinfulness?”  Hmmm, I wish I could say no to all of the above but truthfully, I can’t.  That led me to wonder…

How can a believer who claims to love Jesus think that the particle in another’s eye is a problem when clearly, the log in her own eye has been hindering her view?

Jesus calls us to love one another, not judge one another.

Planks and logs are synonyms for pride.  Ugh, pride.  I hate to even say the word.  Pride is ugly.  If left unguarded, it creeps in and builds upon itself, haughty yet unnoticed.  My prayer life has changed a little in the last couple of weeks.  I’ve included more confession, coupled with asking the Lord to shed light on the areas in my life where pride may reside. 

Wouldn’t you know it?  This week, I’ve apologized to 5 people for 5 different reasons!  These are not just any 5 people.  These are my close friends and family members.  All 5 times, I felt immediately compelled to repent, apologize and seek forgiveness.  Talk about a huge helping of humble pie! 

I can’t even remember the last time I had to wanted to apologize to so many people- in a given week, no less!

God, please take this “plank” from my eye and fill me with Your Vision!  Teach me to see others as You do and help me to fully extend grace, as you have abundantly poured out Your grace on to me. 

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  ~Matthew 7:3-5

25 January 2012

Hello, Instagram

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My phone broke over 6 months ago so Morgan replaced it with his old iPhone.  I hardly use it and couldn’t even tell you how any of it works.  Like I said, it was a miracle that I figured out how to use the video portion when the girls learned to ride their bikes a couple of weeks ago.  I had to call Morgan to find out!  I realize there are plenty of things you can do today with an iPhone (or something of the like) but none of it really interests me.  Except…

Taking fun and quirky pictures of my kids, using Instagram!  Now that’s fun!  Instagram is a FREE App.  You take a picture with your phone (mine’s not the best quality), and then you choose an interesting filter to give it a bit of pizzazz. 

Gotta admit, kinda cool!

It took me a while to figure the whole thing out but I think I finally got it.          

I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  It’s complicated.  Mainly because I lack patience, time, passion and know how.  Oh well, I’m sure my kids will be teaching me everything I need to know very soon. 

Here are the rest of the pictures I took today using my regular camera, my good ole Sony cyber shot. 

Nothing replaces a good, clear picture. (smile)  

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day in the desert…  80 and oh, so BEAUTIFUL!! 

 

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Love this shot!

 

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Learning about African culture.

 

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Two birdies in their nest.

 

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They spent about an hour panning for gold.

 

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Funny girls.

 

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I love ‘em to pieces!

Quinoa Chicken Stew

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I’ve been happily living on soup for the last month.  Some of my concoctions are more like stews but regardless, this time of year, I relish every drop of fiery goodness.  I’ve been known to make a big pot of soup and enjoy it for breakfast, lunch AND dinner- all by myself!
It’s no wonder all my clothes are feeling just little less snug these days.  A “win-win,” won’t you agree? (smile)
I’ve been doing really well with my resolve to eat less processed food and more fruits and veggies.  I’m still carrying on a love affair with kale and there’s no end in sight.  In fact, it’s become my new broccoli.  Every once in a while, I get a craving for a new leafy green and I tend to obsess about it for a month or so.  Broccoli or broccoli rabe has always been a favorite but lately, kale has taken the place of my beloved broccoli.  Hey, it’s better than having an obsession with let’s say… french fries, right? (smile) 
Kale is SO good for you, too!  Anyway, back to the chicken stew... 
I’ve been making this one for years.  Wait, I may have even blogged about this before?  If so, C’est la vie!  It’s worth blogging about again.  Besides, this time I added QUINOA!  Oh man, I love this grain. 
Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, nutty, sweet, and slightly crunchy texture when cooked.  Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard.  No wonder I love it!  And my kids eat it up, better than Swiss chard or kale. (smile)
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wha”) is a nutritional powerhouse.  It has a higher protein content than wheat, barely, or any other grain.  It’s rich in fiber and low in cholesterol.  Quinoa is a natural detoxifier and internal cleanser.  It contains impressive amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamin B- making it an excellent source of bone building and brain boosting. 
I’ve only had it before as a salad or as a substitute for rice but adding it to soup seems perfectly natural.

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  You gotta love TJ’s for all things organic and inexpensive.
Quinoa has created quite the buzz in the gluten-free community.  However, regardless of your dietary needs, give it a try if you haven’t already.  My Chicken Stew recipe is actually Giada’s.  I add garlic to mine and double the chicken broth but otherwise, it’s the same.  Try it with a half cup of quinoa!  It makes a fabulous winter supper! 
Even if it’s expected to be 80 and sunny! 
(quinoa chicken stew photo credit)

23 January 2012

a peek inside…

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So, I’m in the middle of reading Grace for the Good Girl.  Although I can’t relate to every aspect of being the “good girl” she writes about, there are many familiarities that I can relate to.  Like believing that I must “perform” in order to be regarded.  I know what it feels like to wear masks and please people.  I can relate to the fear of thinking, “What if they knew the real me?”  This book is beautifully written.  It’s poignant yet simple.  It speaks to my heart and slowly, page by page, gives me permission to unveil the fa├žade behind the “try-hard” life.  Best of all, it brings me a little closer to living wholly as I was meant to live- free from bondage and free from relying on myself; allowing me to trust and fully accept the all sufficient grace that has been there all along… 

Here’s a little peek… 

If my story were a planet, then your rejection of me would be my nuclear holocaust.  This fear of rejection drives me hard, eating away at my courage.  And so I am cautious in my love.  I am timid in my faith.  My life tells a small story.  I long to be seen, but I feel safe when I’m invisible.

So I stay a good girl.  And I hide.

I hide behind my smile and laid-back personality.  I hide behind fine and good.  I hide behind strong and responsible.  I hide behind busy and comfortable and working hard toward your expectations.  And if I do not meet your expectations, I hide behind indifferent.  And though the purpose of my mask is to fool you, don’t be fooled.

The energy it takes to live for you is killing me — to see me through your eyes, to search for myself in your face, to be sure you are pleased as it regards me.  I want you to always regard me.

Please, by all means, regard meI beg you to see me, to notice my goodness, to ignore my failure, to be inspired by my beauty, to be captivated by my essence.  I want my loveliness to overwhelm you such that you cannot catch your breath.

And then there is God.

I know God is big enough to redeem the unruly, the rejected, and the addict.  I know about the God who reaches way down into the pit and the One whose love stretches to the heavens.  But I fear he misses the details.  What about the girl in the middle?

I want to let go, rest, and believe, so that he can hold, refresh, and redeem.  But what if I do and he doesn’t?  I feel fear.  It washes over me with its lies and half-truths.  The lies aren’t blatant.  They marry themselves with a little bit of truth so the distinction is blurry at best.  And so I practice the presence of fear and refuse the presence of Jesus.

I lived this toxic way for many years before I understood about The Rescue.  I live it still, when I forget that I’ve been found.  Even for those to whom truth has been revealed, fear can be a loud and abusive motivator.

Fear drives.

But Love leads.

That invisible good girl pushes me around.  Fear drives, pushing and shoving.  Love leads, working deeply and gently within.  As I risk exposure to this Love, I catch a glimpse of His goodness, I am inspired by His beauty, I am captivated by His essence.  His loveliness overwhelms me such that I cannot catch my breath.

And before I realize it, there has been a holy shift.  My insatiable need to prove my own goodness to God and the world fades into the background, and instead I receive truth and offer worship to the only One deserving of it.

21 January 2012

How an Abortion Saved the Lives of Many

Tomorrow is Sanctity of Life Sunday.  Many lives have been affected since the infamous Roe vs. Wade court decision made on January 22, 1973.  Since that time perhaps 50,000,000 babies have been killed in the womb with the full protection of the state and the knowledge of the church.  It’s easy to become distressed, dismayed and despondent – not only because of the current laws in place, but perhaps by personal decisions that have been made.

Meet Jen. 

This is her amazing testimony!  It displays hope and redemption and proclaims the grace and sovereignty of God. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~Romans 8:28

With the Presidential Election coming up this November, I won’t go into a political debate or which specific candidate will receive my vote but one thing is clear, I will not be supporting any candidate who does not fundamentally believe that life begins at inception.  It’s as simple as that.  If we proclaim to be Christian (regardless of any other political or social issues at hand) how is it possible to vote otherwise?  There are countless references to the sacredness of life in the bible.  Even John the Baptist and Jesus, our Lord and Savior were spoken of, while in the womb.

As a society, if we don’t value innocent human life and take responsibility for our own actions, who will? 

May God have mercy on us.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart.”

~Jeremiah 1:5

20 January 2012

Honor Begins at Home

“A man cannot be passive about what Scripture tells him to do for his family and expect to be found faithful to God in the end. He must see with spiritual eyes and realize that future generations are directly impacted by his daily decisions.”
—The Resolution for Men

The Resolution for Men is the inspiring book born out of Courageous, a new film by the makers of Fireproof.  The movie, which presents a powerful story of strong male leadership, is an emotionally charged wake-up call to fathers whose influence upon their children and society is immeasurable.  The Resolution for Men follows to challenge men of all ages to become as bold and intentional about embracing their responsibilities as leaders of their homes, marriages, and children.

Written by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, screenwriters of Courageous, The Resolution for Men strategically inspires men to reconcile with their past, re-engage in the present by taking full responsibility for their wives and children, and then move forward with a bold and clear resolution for the future.

For 8 weeks now, Morgan has been attending a weekly men’s bible study at church.  Last night was the culmination of his study.  Just like in the movie, a Resolution Ceremony was held for the men and their families. 

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We are so blessed that Morgan has a passion for fathering and has always sought out biblical direction and purpose.  This was a natural study for him to embrace and be a part of.  Morgan is the kind of guy who quietly and thoughtfully does what he should-  without fanfare, entitlement or complaint.  I have always loved and admired him for his integrity and sense of responsibility.  Unfortunately, we have too many grown up boys today and not enough men. 

Although the girls and I did not need a public declaration of his resolve towards us, it was certainly a welcomed confirmation of his dedication and commitment towards his role as the leader for our family.   

It was past the girls’ bedtime but they loved dressing up and cuddling with daddy through the ceremony.  Especially since they hadn’t seen him in last 2 days (business trip).  We’re thankful he’s home. 

More importantly, we are so thankful he is ours! 

May God continue to bless him, protect him, and guide him,

As he courageously leads his family for the Lord.

19 January 2012

The Power of Words

Have you ever said something to someone and then immediately wished you could take it back?  Have you ever used your words to hurt or criticize rather than to build up or encourage?  Sadly, I have.
In Proverbs 18:21, it says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” That means every word that comes out of our mouth either gives life or brings death.  In other words, there are no neutral words. 
Life words give encouragement, hope, wisdom, instruction, grace, understanding, or praise.  Death words bring anxiety, hopelessness, sadness, guilt, anger, despair, or bitterness.  Our words are one of the unique differences we humans have that animals don’t.  Words can linger in a person’s heart forever.
Let us choose our words wisely today.             

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14 

17 January 2012

I Am Raising Adults

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If there is one thing our society is lacking these days, it is Responsibility.  Responsibility for our own actions.  Responsibility for our own consequences.  Responsibility for our behaviors, emotions, and reactions.  All too often it is someone else’s fault or someone else’s job.  In fact, so many people have outsourced their responsibilities to the point there is no one left to take responsibility for anything.

And I refuse to be a part of the problem.

I loved this post from Amy at Raising Homemakers.  Read the rest here.

Aside from teaching our children the ways of the Lord, I have a duty and passion for teaching them responsibility.  In fact, this is another big reason why we homeschool.  I don’t call them “chores” in our house, I call them jobs or responsibilities.  A job or a responsibility is a privilege.  A chore is a chore.  

Whether we homeschool or not, teaching our children responsibility and having pride in their work (something I’m working on at the moment) must not be confused with or misinterpreted as suppressing the joy of simply being a child.  I’m learning that a thoughtful balance can that take place with each learning situation.  Thankfully, at this age, kids usually enjoy helping out where needed.    

The point of this post is to encourage us to raise up a generation that does NOT contribute to the problem of bratty entitlement or self indulgence but rather, raise a generation that not only knows the scriptures but does the scriptures.

16 January 2012

Seventy

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Dad, during his pro ball years.

 

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Seoul, Korea circa 1971.

 

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Christmas in Gardena, California.

 

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This is the way I remember dad most… back in the late 70’s.  (Check me out in the background… I loved that Huffy)

 

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Mom and dad… I’m guessing they’re at some Hawaiian party back in the 70’s?

 

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Whoa!  Look at those short shorts!

 

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Some of my fondest memories are fishing with dad.  Look at that whopper!

 

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Me and my bro… have we changed much? (smile)

 

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We love Hapajee!

 

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His bride then…

 

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His bride now…

 

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Grandson, James.

 

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Dad and Richard back in Korea….  Fast forward about 42 years and here you have Dad and James.  So sweet!

 

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Surrounded by friends and family, we honored and celebrated my Dad on his 70th birthday.  A lot of these old pictures were used to create a collage for the party.  My brother made all the delicious food and we had a wonderful time celebrating my father.  Happy 70th birthday, Hapajee! 

Dad~

Thank you for your example of love and dedication to your family; for teaching us the value of hard work and for giving us the gift of a fun and adventurous spirit.  We love you!

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